Monday, May 28, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

No role for Hurriyat: Pak

New Delhi, May 27
Pakistan today ruled out any role for the Hurriyat in the talks between Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistan’s Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf.

The state-to-state and government-to-government level talks are bilateral and there’s no role for the Hurriyat at present. However, in the entire dialogue process all three parties — India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir — would have to be included, said Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Ashraf Jehangir Qazi.

“We believe that the Hurriyat is the representative of the people of Kashmir. So in the entire dialogue process it has a role but not in the coming talks” between Premier Vajpayee and the General”, Mr Qazi said while participating in a panel discussion on Star.

However, the Hurriyat described it as a “colonial” attitude and said it had expectations not only from General Musharraf but both the governments, and the approach of both governments should be to address the “geniune a grievances” of the people of Kashmir.

“It’s a colonial attitude when two governments sit and talk and do not notice the grievances of the people of Kashmir who have been suffering for the past 11 years,” senior Hurriyat leader Abdul Ghani Lone said while participating in the discussion from a studio in Srinagar.

Despite opposition to Indo-Pakistan talks by hardline militant groups like the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen, Gen Pervez Musharraf, would come to Delhi, the High Commissioner said.

“May be some groups have expressed skepticism with regard to the outcome of the talks...and there is no denying that...but we have already made it clear that our response will be positive”.

“The fact is that we adhere and subscribe to all agreements between India and Pakistan in our history and that includes Lahore and Simla, but we would even say that includes the UN resolutions that both India and Pakistan signed...but then India went back on these,” he said.

Pakistan would now initiate a proposal for dates for India’s consideration so that General Musharraf’s visit could be finalised, Mr Qazi said, according to an NDTV release here.

He said in the event of a plebiscite, “the outcome will certainly not be to stay with India. The UN resolutions only offer India and Pakistan as two options. If there is a third one, the charter has to be amended. But what is important is that the wishes of the people will have to be respected.”

Asked if converting the Line of Control into an international border was a possible solution, he said: “It is a ceasefire line...and converting it into a border is not acceptable to the people of Kashmir.”

Senior leader from occupied Kashmir (PoK) Mumtaz Khan in a statement said that the Kashmir issue was slipping into the hands of foreign mercenaries and the movement launched in the early nineties had turned into a “war of religious hatred”. UNI, PTI


Letter puts Musharraf in ‘bind’

Islamabad, May 27
Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s letter inviting Pakistan’s military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf to New Delhi for talks has put the latter in a “bind” and left him with little choice but to go with the Indian agenda, media reports said today.

“Mr Vajpayee’s letter, which has been carefully drafted keeping in mind the Indian and Pakistani public, puts General Musharraf in something of a bind. The General has often derided the composite dialogue process initiated by the Nawaz Sharif government, and boasted of having put Kashmir back on top of the agenda,” The Nation said in an editorial on the contents of Mr Vajpayee’s letter of invitation.

“Since his ‘anywhere, any time’ pledges, the military ruler is left with little choice but to go along with Mr Vajpayee’s agenda, at least for the time-being,” it said. “While it is good that the two countries settled for bilateral talks, no one with ‘modicum of realism’ will concede that any solution without the involvement of Kashmiri people will succeed,” The Nation said.

“Few would disagree with Mr Vajpayee’s observation that poverty is both countries’ principal enemy... India and Pakistan cannot hope to realise their potential unless they bring down their highly burdensome defence spending,” it said.

Meanwhile, another daily dawn, in its editorial: While it mentions the Lahore Declaration it also refers, albeit in passing, to the Kashmir issue. Pakistan can have no problems in answering this invitation in the same spirit and manner.” PTIBack

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